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Olympics: Sha’Carri Richardson will not compete in Tokyo

The American sprinter banned for marijuana use will not run in the Team USA relay, ending her last chance to run in Tokyo

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Sha’Carri Richardson celebrates after winning the women’s 100-meter dash at the Olympic trials.

Sha’Carri Richardson celebrates after winning the women’s 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Saturday, June 19, 2021, in Eugene, Ore.

Ashley Landis, Associated Press

American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson will not compete in the Tokyo Olympics, reported ESPN.

Friday, the fan-favorite accepted a one-month suspension from competition after failing her drug test due to marijuana use prior to the Olympic trials, reported the Deseret News.

  • The suspension erased Richardson’s qualification time for the 100-meter dash, disqualifying her from running her signature race in Tokyo, per the Deseret News.
  • Richardson’s suspension will end before the women’s track relay race, providing her one last possible opportunity to compete in the upcoming Olympics.

However on Tuesday, USA Track and Field released the final Olympic roster — and Richardson’s name was not on the list, ESPN reported.

Why was Sha’Carri Richardson left off the relay list?

For the women’s 4x100 relay race, USA Track and Field had two discretionary spots. Richardson — who was considered a contender for the gold medal in the women’s 100-meter sprint — could have been named to one of those spots, ESPN said. However, Richardson was left off the roster because of her positive drug test.

  • Richardson tested positive for a chemical found in marijuana following the Olympic trials on June 19. She admitted to smoking marijuana while coping with the unexpected loss of her biological mother days prior to the trials, reported the Deseret News.
  • Despite being legal in Oregon — the state hosting the Olympic trials — marijuana is still a banned substance by track and field ruling committees nationally and internationally, the Deseret News reported.

What did USA Track and Field say about the decision?

USA Track and Field said it was “incredibly sympathetic toward Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstances” and “fully agrees” that international rules around marijuana use should be reconsidered, per ESPN.

However, the committee said “we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams,” said the statement via ESPN.

  • The two discretionary spots were offered to English Gardner and Aleia Hobbs, the sixth and seventh place finishers at the Olympic trials last month, ESPN said.